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J Gastrointest Surg. 2003 May-Jun;7(4):562-6.

Home total parenteral nutrition: an alternative to early surgery for complicated inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This paper examines the safety and feasibility of providing short-term, in-home total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for whom the alternative is prolonged hospitalization or early surgery. The records of all patients with IBD who were receiving temporary home TPN between June 1996 and July 2000 were reviewed. A quality-of-life phone interview was conducted at the time of review. Fifteen patients (11 men and 4 women) were identified whose average age was 35 years. The underlying diagnosis was Crohn's disease in 10 and ulcerative colitis in five. The indications for home TPN were complex internal fistulas and resolving sepsis in two, postoperative septic complications (anastomotic leak/enterocutaneous fistula) in five, high-output proximal stomas in four, prolonged ileus/partial obstruction in three, and spontaneous enterocutaneous fistula in one. The average duration of home TPN was 75 days (range 7 to 240 days). Two patients (13%) failed home TPN (1 with uncontrolled sepsis; 1 with dehydration) and were readmitted to the hospital. Home TPN was discontinued in one patient whose enterocutaneous fistula failed to heal with nonoperative treatment. Home TPN was successful in 12 patients (80%): eight (53%) who underwent planned definitive surgery and four (27%) whose conditions resolved without surgery. Complications of home TPN were line sepsis and pulmonary aspergillosis in one patient. All patients preferred home TPN to further hospitalization and reported good or excellent quality of life at home. Home TPN is a safe alternative to prolonged hospitalization or early surgery in patients with complicated IBD.

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